what: Stone Brewing’s Tropic of Thunder
ABV: 5.8 percent
cost: about $9.99 for a six pack
where: major retailers
Stone made its reputation and a lot of money by brewing the West Coast style — big, hoppy and very bitter beers. Like any good business, Stone is trying to adapt to changing customer preferences and is now embracing, though in small steps, the style of brewing that emphasizes tropical hop flavor with less bitterness.
Tropic of Thunder is an attempt to make such a beer. It features a hop cocktail of Citra, Mosaic and Cashmere hops. Citra and Mosaic are well known for their citrus and tropical flavors, and Cashmere is a fairly new hop in brewing, also featuring mild lemon and lime flavors. Even though these are all American-grown hops, they impart to this beer citrus and tropical flavors reminiscent of mango, pineapple and coconut like the popular hops from the South Pacific. Tropic’s flavor profile is all about these hop flavors without any malt, though there is a hint of sweetness at midtaste. The finish is bitter and lingers on the palate. This bitterness is out of balance and does not harmonize with these hop flavors as well as it should. Stone should dial the bitterness back a bit on this one to make it a more pleasant tropical experience.